At Least 9 Killed, Dozens Injured as Tornadoes and Storms Hit South and Midwest US

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More than 450,000 homes and businesses were in the dark early Saturday across Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, and Tennessee, with about one-third of the outages reported in Indiana, according to tracking website

At least nine people were killed and dozens more injured after devastating storms and tornadoes scraped the South and Midwest of the United States on Friday into early Saturday.

More than 50 preliminary tornado reports were recorded Friday in at least seven states, including Arkansas, where storms left five people dead, according to local officials.

In Indiana, three people were killed Friday night by a storm that damaged homes and a volunteer fire department near Sullivan, a city home to about 4,000 residents, State Police Sgt. Matt Ames said.

"We need all citizens to stay safe and stay put," Mayor Clint Lamb said. "First responders need clear streets so they can tend to affected areas. Please pray for the Sullivan families and public safety personnel." 

In Alabama's Madison County, one person died and five were injured overnight, officials told reporters Saturday morning.

In Arkansas, where at least a dozen tornadoes were reported, twisters left homes nearly levelled, and roads were covered with what was once the roofs and walls of buildings.

County spokesperson Madeline Roberts said at least 50 people were hospitalised in Pulaski County, where a tornado ripped through Little Rock.

Mayor Frank Scott told CNN on Saturday that "the impact is devastating" in Little Rock. "Literally, in a matter of minutes, it went through the entire western portion of the city of Little Rock ... It just came out of nowhere."

At least 2,100 residents in the pathway of the tornado were affected, Scott said, and neighbourhoods and commercial businesses levelled. More than 30,000 people are still without power, he added. 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who activated the state's National Guard, declared a state of emergency, noting the state will "spare no resource" in responding and recovering from the storm.

Preliminary information shows at least 22 tornadoes were reported in Illinois, eight in Iowa, five in Wisconsin, a couple in Mississippi, and four in Tennessee - where people were hospitalised after a tornado struck Friday in Covington.

Friday's severe storms came a week after severe weather hit the Southeast, killing at least 26 people. An overnight tornado flattened much of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where estimated maximum winds of 170 mph roared.

The Storm Prediction Center warned storms across the Southeast are expected to remain strong to severe through Saturday afternoon, but these storms should push offshore by the evening.

A round of severe storms including damaging winds is expected to ramp up across portions of the Northeast in the afternoon through the evening. These storms could affect some of the big Northeast cities, including Philadelphia, New York, and Boston in the evening.